Tuesday, 14 April 2015

10 things I've Been Reading/Watching so far this week... (part 1)

in no particular order

1) Party Political literature

So... this came in the post this morning. Anyone would think there was an election going on!

The manifestos are all out, apparently; and so are the colourful flyers. It's great for basic poetry "stranging" warm-up exercises.

Take these sentences from Natalie Bennett's flyer, for example: "Camden is a special place. It's a community with a sense of its own identity, deeply concerned about justice and fairness, full of people who think we need real change in Britain - towards a society that works for the common good, not just for the few."

Then go to an online random word generator...

Pick one of three and find the wiki entry:
garden is a planned space, usually outdoors, set aside for the display, cultivation, and enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature. The garden can incorporate both natural and man-made materials. The most common form today is known as a residential garden, but the term garden has traditionally been a more general one. Zoos, which display wild animals in simulated natural habitats, were formerly called zoological gardens.[1][2] Western gardens are almost universally based on plants, with garden often signifying a shortened form of botanical garden.

Now the fun begins... A bit of word substitution and we've created a mashup:

"Camden is a special place, incorporating both natural and man-made materials, displaying wild animals in simulated natural habitats, formerly full of people who think we need real change in Britain."

At this stage it's only mildly amusing... and there's a fair number of combinations that can be done still. A bit of poetry workings out/ word association games and something more interesting could come up.

A Special Place, Inc./ formerly full of empty animals/please do not touch the display

Perhaps a haiku:

Kentish Town  West

The pay and display 
no longer accepts real change.
I can't vote it out.

Meh... Maybe it kind of works. Maybe it doesn't. In any case, this is how I sometimes waste several hours.

2) Cassette Boy mashup

Speaking of mashups, I was forwarded this over the weekend.

It's a shame that the main three parties look so similar in many respects... In this article, we get to see how scarily similar they dress, even. In fact, it's beyond scary.

3) Zac's Haunted House - Dennis Cooper

Moving topics somewhat, to another, deliberately spooky thing. I don't know what to make of this but I'm sure more experimental e-lit will appear. Zac's Haunted House is a story told entirely via animated GIFs. I've just got through Chapter 1 and genuinely don't know what to think yet.

4) The Spider King's Daughter - Chibundu Onuzo

Back to more conventional genre, and I've had this book on my desk for months, after first meeting Chibundu at FLUPP festival in Rio, last November (I haven't talked about Rio for ages, have I?). So, I picked it up expecting it to be a sweet(ish) story, but it turned out much darker and more complex than I imagined, and full of twists. I finished it yesterday, while doing Extra Pages duties (please check us out)... I hope bookshop customers weren't spooked by my shocked face!

5) [Settled Wanderers] The Poetry of Western SaharaSam Berkson/Mohamed Sulaiman

This is hot off the press!! I knew little about the plight of the people of Western Sahara before performing at a fundraising gig a couple of years back for a trip there. Since then, I've learnt a little about this long term, mass-scale displacement. Fellow performance poet Sam Berkson spent a while there as writer-in-residence at the refugee camps around Tindouf, meeting with local poets and helping with the translation of their work. And I just got my hands on a copy yesterday night! I'm particularly enjoying the farcical 'Why you should never do translation in the house of your Saharawi translator.'

Okay.... I really need to get on with some work now. Will post the 2nd part tomorrow.


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